Choose the article you wish to read:

  1. Our New Superior (The Priory, 1959)
  2. Liturgy At The Priory (1959)
  3. The Queen's Visit June 1959
  4. Hither and Thither (St Edward's, Totteridge)
  5. The Pilgrimage to Bursledon
  6. The Fifth Form Outing (Priory 1959)
  7. A Day On The Hamble
  8. News From St Columba's (1959)

By Fr J O'Donohue
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

When Father Moody received his call to the mission of Mwanza, after devoting the first years of his priesthood to the early training of future White Fathers, there was at hand a Father clearly qualified to succeed him. Father Fitzgerald had already spent four years at the Priory as Director, Prefect of Discipline, and Professor of Latin, and had shown himself to be both an excellent teacher and a gifted educator in the broader sense. His pupils achieved outstanding results in examinations, he had introduced the boys to a real appreciation of classical music, and he had shown a rare combination of understanding and firmness in discharging the delicate office of Prefect of Discipline.

To take the place of so gifted and energetic a Superior as Father Moody was an unenviable task indeed: but Father Fitzgerald showed himself equal to it. He accepted his appointment like a true White Father, seeing in the letter which announced it the handwriting of Almighty God, and tackled the responsibility of his new post with astonishing zest. Without relinquishing any of his classes he somehow found time to execute all the tasks which now fell to him with unfailing thoroughness, and to set on foot many new schemes concerned both with the academic and spiritual formation of the boys entrusted above all to his care.

We who serve under him are very conscious of all that we owe him for the kind and wise leadership he so selflessly supplies. In spite of all his cares, he is always ready to hear any suggestions or to listen to any problem; above all one feels that his overmastering desire is to lead all those who are under him, whether Fathers or Brothers or boys, to an ever holier life. We are glad to express our thanks to him, and to assure him that his boundless devotion to his task is deeply appreciated by everyone at the Priory.

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By P.D.F. (Fr Patrick Fitzgerald?)
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

There can be few readers of these lines who have not been made aware in the past year of new approaches to assistance at Holy Mass. The late Holy Father was ever anxious that all present at Mass should participate actively in it and not be mere passive onlookers. Our own Major Superiors, taking his directives very much to heart, promptly issued their own instructions to guide us in our endeavours to put the Pope's orders into effect.

In a junior Seminary students naturally assist at Mass daily. Being young they cannot of themselves appreciate the greatness of what goes on at the altar. The Mass is therefore explained to them in detail ; its prayers analysed, the significance of its gestures pointed out to them. All these explanations are the first step towards the goal of enabling the students to understand, pray, and offer the Mass.

But there are inevitable difficulties bound up with the students' age, and perhaps with the hectic atmosphere of the world in which they live. There is a sameness in the prayers and actions of the Mass that can easily engender indifference and make prayer exceedingly difficult. Even if young men understand, in the measure that their years allow them, what the Mass is, it does not necessarily follow that their assistance at Mass will be prayerful for very long. To help them great stress has been laid on the active role that they are called upon to play at Mass, on their real, if still remote participation in the Priesthood of Christ with the duty of offering something of themselves, of their daily life and routine. This has entailed explanation of the meaning of Sacrifice and of the duty every Christian has to fill up in our flesh those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ, for His Body, which is the Church. 'Such ideas and such an ideal should surely find a welcome in the minds and hearts of young men whose ambition is to become 'an apostle and servant of Jesus Christ.'

Even when our daily Mass is seen to involve personal offering and sacrifice, young people still need variety in the manner of their offering and sacrifice. That is why we have tried out several different ways of assisting actively at daily Mass: a fully Dialogue Mass twice weekly, along the lines laid down by Father C. Howell, s.j. (this commentary is read by one of the students) ; and on two other weekdays there is singing of hymns appropriate to the various parts of the Mass. At all Masses the epistle and gospel have been read in English by one of the students.

Another development has concerned the Sung Mass on Sunday, which has been brought forward to an earlier hour, and has been made the only Mass at which the students assist on that day, and at which they receive Holy Communion. The sermon at this Mass contains some instruction bearing on the Priesthood, and on Sunday Mass as the focal point of the week, from which all other activities stem and from which they derive their meaning and unity.

This brief outline of experiments made over the past year can only tell in a sketchy way of our attempts to make the students more conscious of the Sacred Liturgy as a source of life, and as a living drama, in which they are actors and around which the whole purpose of their lives as future-priests is centred. We pray that the future will see these experiments carried further, and our students made more aware of the dignity and responsibility of the Priesthood to which they aspire.

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By Fr J O'Donohue
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

On 8th June Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, opened the new council offices at Winchester, The royal pair then drove to Portsmouth to open the Guildhall, which has been splendidly restored after the sad battering it received during the war. Bishop's Waltham lies on the road from Winchester to Portsmouth, and so set about to prepare the village for its august visitors. The road along which Her Majesty was to pass was decorated with flags and bunting, as a symbol of the people's loyalty to the Crown. The boys of the Priory played a leading part in preparing the village for the occasion, and the principal person in local affairs paid them a handsome tribute for the substantial help they gave.

June 8th was one of the few rainy days we have had here in the last two or three months. The whole village, it seemed, braved the rain to turn out for the occasion, and the Priory boys, dripping but cheerful, were conspicuous on the roadside in the centre of the village. After many false alarms, and many facetious greetings from the drivers of grocers' vans, coal lorries and petrol tankers, the royal car at last arrived, with Her Majesty and the Duke clearly visible as they acknowledged the cheers of their people.

One Father afterwards informed us that as the Queen passed him she pushed open her window to get a better look. But Her Majesty might have simply been alarmed at the sharp turn. The roads of Bishop's Waltham are not the result of careful planning. They seem just to have grown that way. A series of right-angle bends and inexplicable windings about Bishop's Waltham makes the Winchester to Portsmouth road unpopular with motorists and explains why our village, in truth a place of no great pretensions, is at least well known to road users in these parts, for all traffic through it is reduced to a walking-pace. On this occasion its peculiar road-system was an advantage, for even the royal car was obliged to travel very slowly, thus enabling the bystanders to catch more than a glimpse of the Queen and her husband.

We were glad of this opportunity to greet the leading members of the royal family, and we are proud that the boys of the Priory were able to give their services to help to mark the occasion in a fitting manner.

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By Patrick Shanahan (Form VI)
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

In these days of luxury coaches and dual carriageways, a distance of seventy miles or so is a trifle ; so when the Scholasticate came to grace Totteridge in North London the Priory was within striking distance, and on Easter Monday it struck.

There were about two dozen boys who set out that breezy morning with two ambitions : to witness a win for the Priory at football, and to see the Scholastics and their life.

The first ambition was not realized. We lost the football match quite convincingly by three goals to none. What made our defeat the more ignominious was the fact that we had been considered firm favourites before the game. Well, the favourite lets his backers down sometimes, and we certainly did so on Easter Monday.
Our second ambition had a much happier issue. We saw the life that soon we too, please God, will be leading. What impressed us above all was the spirit of peace and happiness so evident in the community we were visiting. We felt an atmosphere of happiness and goodwill, too sincere to have been adopted for the occasion. It gave us a most valuable insight into the lives of young men, now approaching the priesthood, but who not so long ago were themselves, as we are now, in a junior seminary. Although therefore as footballers we returned home considerably chastened, we felt that as human beings our visit to Totteridge had improved us.

But revenge is sweet, and therein lies the 'Thither' part of my story. On WhitMonday our elder brethren came to play us at cricket, and we looked forward to making some kind of amends for our defeat at football. Our guests arrived about midday to begin a memorable visit.

It was memorable because that spirit we had noticed a few months before at Totteridge was now brought to the Priory, and the whole place seemed to be lit up with the presence of the Scholastics. Even the cricket field was changed. There was about the play of our rivals a carefree spirit in marked contrast with our play, which was inspired by a desperate desire to win the match. We wanted revenge, but in fact we did not get it. After the game I spent a rather trying ten minutes trying to explain to a French Canadian the precise nature of a draw in cricket. At first he was of the opinion that it was unfair that victory was not given to us : but after I had done explaining, he was convinced that if the game had gone on longer Totteridge would have won.

At about 7.30, mente et corpore pariter refecti by Benediction and tea, we saw our guests off. It was strange to reflect that such obviously happy men were students who had to work hard: but then we realized that their spirit comes from their life and their work which are dedicated to God, and who rewards them in this wonderful way.

And so the first of the double visits was completed this year. As far as we at the Priory were concerned, both visits were very enjoyable and most enlightening. We cannot hope to have conferred on Totteridge the benefits the scholastics undoubtedly conferred on us, but we can say that we made their visit to us as pleasant as we knew how. So a tradition has been started, and Priorians, we hope, will be able to have an annual glimpse of the life that will soon be theirs, and so be encouraged in their vocation.

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By Andrew Coyle (Form III)
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

Every year on 30th April, the feast of Our Lady of Africa, the Priorians make a pilgrimage. In past years it had been the custom to go to the shrine of Our Lady of Winton, at Winchester; this year, however, it was not possible to go to Winchester, so it was decided that the pilgrimage should be made to Bursledon instead, to the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The morning of 30th April dawned bright and sunny and shortly after eight o'clock we set off. There are two roads to Bursledon from Bishop's Waltham, one a mile or so longer than the other. Most boys went by the shorter route, through Botley. The first few boys arrived shortly after ten and quickly converged on a small shop which sells lemonade.

The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary was built at the beginning of the century by a rich lady, who also paid for the upkeep of a priest, and allowed the public to attend Mass there. Above the high altar stands the statue of Our Lady, with the Child Jesus in her arms. On her right hand, receiving the Rosary from her, is St Dominic, and on her left hand is St Norbert, holding a monstrance.

After Mass one of the parishioners kindly gave us the use of her garden to eat our sandwiches in. She was a Miss Newdigate, a descendant of the Blessed Sebastian Newdigate, a former courtier of Henry VIII's who became a Carthusian, and was martyred in 1535.

When we had finished eating, some had to catch a bus back to play cricket, but the rest of us walked home, enjoying to the full the beautiful Hampshire countryside. So we arrived home, weary and footsore, but happy.

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By James Quinn (Form V).
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

In these days of space travel and subpolar jaunts, one has to do something really outstanding in the way of travelling before it can be classed as an outing. For this reason the Fifth Form decided to go on a Grand Tour of the South and West of England on 16th March 1959.

We started off early while the rest of the School tried to look indifferent as they trudged in to Morning Prayers. Our first stop was Stonehenge—everyone knows about its huge stones standing up in the middle of a windswept moor. There is a tale that it was once a Druid place of worship, but we didn't see any sign of Druids—only a man who made us pay to get in and a few soldiers doing manoeuvres nearby.

We pushed on, from ancient to medieval times, and paid a visit to the graceful cathedral at Salisbury, where all combined to help us recapture the atmosphere of England's Catholic past—lofty spire, shaded cloisters, and an ancient verger looking like the Spirit of Ages Past. We tore ourselves away at last and headed for the beautiful and venerable city of Bath.

As we drove in we had a magnificent view of the Royal Crescent and the Circus from the Warminster Road, and then, delving now into more recent history, visited Pulteney Street, The Crescent and Queen's Square where at different times lived such famous figures as Dickens, Jane Austen, Doctor Livingstone, Clive (of India), William Pitt, Wordsworth and Napoleon I I I. We saw and wondered at the old Roman baths, with hot water supplied by nature, and the famous Pump Room. In the Baths are to be seen traces of very early Roman architecture and a complete human skeleton.

After visiting Bath Cathedral too, and admiring the famous fan-vaulting, we continued on our way to the rugged beauty of the Cheddar Gorge. We felt very small and insignificant as we followed the road which snaked down to Cheddar village between towering limestone cliffs. We then paid a visit to the subterranean fairyland of Gough's caves, where the guide gave us the complete treatment, concluding with a smile which said as plainly as any words, 'Tip, please !'

We took tea on the hairpin bend on the way out of the gorge, and then proceeded to Wells. We were able to admire the fine carving on the West front, but as a service was in progress at the time of our visit we chose to deny ourselves an examination of the inverted arch rather than deny our faith.

We paid a flying visit to Glastonbury Abbey on the way back, but time pressed ; we arrived back at the Priory at a respectably late hour for a class outing, and went to bed assuring each other that it was the best outing we had ever had. We awoke next morning and tried to convince the rest of the School also that this was the best trip ever.

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By Peter Fredickson (Form V).
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

'We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
'Roll'd to starboard, roll'd to larboard, when the surge was seething free . . .'

Last Whit Monday, one Father and half-a-dozen boys from the Priory decided to spend the day on the River Hamble. This enterprising party set out shortly after breakfast on the long trek to Botley. The four miles were covered at a good pace and, after buying the necessary provisions for the expedition, the intrepid group launched out into the deep, and set off downstream in two four-seater rowingboats. They immediately came across a difficulty: a narrow pass had to be negotiated between an overturned barge and a sandbank. To the average man, this obstacle would have proved serious, but our team of expert rowers and steerers made light of it ; both boats got through without mishap and forged ahead in fine style.

The boats continued to be handled in this masterly style for the next hour, which otherwise produced only one interesting incident. One boat had to be beached, and the re-launching proved to be an operation of extreme difficulty. A particularly muddy section of the bank had unfortunately been chosen for the beaching, and the boat stuck fast.

For the first round of the contest, three of the crew piled in, while the fourth gave the boat a shove from shore. When his exertions were making him black in the face, a second came ashore to help. Minutes passed. Before long all four members of the crew were straining and heaving on the bank. At last one tremendous and concerted heave sent the boat flying away from the bank. In a surge of panic, the four heavers leaped into the boat as it was leaving them ; in dived the four; down went the boat once more, and lodged fast in a few inches of water near the bank. One of the braver members of the crew removed his shoes and socks and went overboard to push, while the other three, shouting encouraging remarks, tried to push off with the oars. At last they were clear, and a rather wet fourth party clambered aboard to take the remaining oar in an effort to catch up the companion boat, now far downstream.

Things went quietly for the next hour or so. The river gradually became wider, and other boats appeared. The wind freshened, and the water became distinctly choppy, especially when a fast motor-boat passed nearby. Luckily both wind and tide were with our party, and they fairly flew along. At last they decided to land and take refreshment. The beaching operation was this time effected more successfully, and after a while it was decided to head back upstream and find a more pleasant and less crowded spot on the bank where they could rest.

Now came the battle upstream, against wind, tide and current. The going was hard, and conversation ceased as the boats advanced painfully and slowly. The toilers were not very encouraged when they saw a nearby yacht capsize

— a brave vessel
Who had no doubt some noble creature in her—

nor when at one moment their own boats seemed about to turn turtle. I pass rapidly over this section of the journey, which was very tedious.

When they arrived at Bursledon Bridge, our party decided to disembark and rest the crews, and load up with fresh supplies. There, in a riverside inn, they fell in with a group of mental patients, who were out for a walk under the superintendence of a nurse. It was not very encouraging to overhear their talk about the boy what was drownded', and the party took to their boats again without delay. Two more stoppages were made along the river; these were spent in eating, sleeping, exploring, swimming, nesting, etc. and in fact the rest of the day was spent in general enjoyment.

On looking back on the day, I find it contained nothing very spectacular, but water has an appeal of its own, and I hope that our little excursion has opened up a new field of entertainment to Priorians ; for a better way of spending a day could hardly be devised.

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Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959 — lent by Eugene MacBride

September 17th, 1958: St Columba's re-opened for fifty-two boys.

November 30th: St Andrew's Day and feast of Father Murphy, Novice-Master of the Lay-Brothers.
The novices came over from Monteviot to spend the day with us. They beat us at football, but we were victors at basketball and table-tennis.

March: At the beginning of this month, we had a visit (and a holiday) from His Grace the Archbishop.
Bishop Msakila from Tanganyika also visited us and gave us a holiday.

May 15th: The Very Reverend Father Walsh came on Visitation.

May 31st: Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, in which we were joined by about ninety visitors from the West of Scotland.

June 3rd: Feast of the Blessed Martyrs of Uganda.
We invaded Monteviot and spent a most enjoyable day there. This was our last visit to Monteviot, as the house closed on 16th June.

June 14th: Our annual pilgrimage to Dunfermline in honour of St Margaret of Scotland.